Love’s Effect On The Brain

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From The Los Angeles Times
By Susan Brink

Her front brain is telling her he's trouble. Look at the facts, it says. He's never made a commitment, he drinks too much, he can't hold down a job.

But her middle brain won't listen. Man, it swoons, he looks great in those jeans, his black hair curls onto his forehead so adorably, and when he drags on a cigarette, he's so bad he's good.

His front brain is lecturing, too: She's flirting with every guy in the place, and she can drink even you under the table, it says. His mid-brain is unresponsive, distracted by her legs, her blouse and her come-hither stare.

"What could you be thinking?" their front brains demand.

Their middle brains, each on a quest for reward, pay no heed.

Alas, when it comes to choosing mates, smart neurons can make dumb choices. Sure, if the brain's owner is in her 40s and has been around the block a few times, she might grab her bag and scram. If the guy has reached seasoned middle age, he might think twice about that cleavage-baring temptress. Wisdom -- at least a little -- does come with experience.

Tango’s Take

As Robert Palmer said, ‘you might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.’ First of all, this is a good read. Loooong, but good. The initial gist is that our love expectations are shaped by experience. Young ladies like ‘bad boys’ but often learn later that ‘nice guys’ are better in the long run. Young men (or roughly all men) might really be into sexy little numbers that look like they may be a handful in the sack but are a nightmare everywhere else. And furthermore, the mid-brain does not really learn from experience. It is engaged in a constant battle with the front brain for dominance. The front brain appears to grow stronger as we age (or possibly the mid-brain weakens, or both). The great part about this is the MRI study. The brains of people high on the love juice are similar to people addicted to drugs and alcohol. The brain configures itself to crave this feeling. And the feeling is a necessary part of procreation. The feeling makes people want to be with each other, even outside of the humping. And eventually when these chemicals start to wane, that’s when mutual interests come in or fun costumes. Or divorce.

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